Facing declining resource revenue and escalating operating costs, Finance Minister Doug Horner introduced Alberta’s first budgeted operating deficit in over 20 years. Titled Responsible Change, Alberta’s 2013 Provincial Budget will see the Alberta government borrow billions over the next three years for capital construction projects and drain the province’s Sustainability Fund while trying to hold the line on government operational spending.
The good news for retailers and consumers in Alberta is that no new taxes were created and no taxes were increased in the 2013 budget. However, the provincial debt is projected to grow to $8.2 billion by March 2014 and to nearly $17 billion by March 2016.
To view the 2013 Alberta budget papers, click here.
Budget Highlights included:
- No new taxes or tax rate increases while holding government operating expense increases to 0%.
- $451 million operating deficit budgeted for 2013-14, forecasting a return to an operating surplus in 2014-15.
- Introducing a legislated saving strategy starting in 2014 by introducing The Fiscal Management Act.
- Borrowing $4.3 billion for capital infrastructure projects in 2013-14.
- No mention of an increase to the province’s minimum wage.
RCC will monitor both the implementation of Budget 2013 and The Fiscal Management Act. We will also continue pressing the government to take action on the key priorities outlined in RCC’s Retail’s Election Agenda including lowering payroll costs, implementing cost effective waste diversion, harmonizing to reduce the regulatory burden on retailers, and increase Alberta’s available labour pool.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact: Lanny McInnes at: [email protected] or (204) 253-1654.